Friday, 31 December 2010
RIP - MUIR's is NOW CLOSED
Huzzah! I was finally done work for 2010 and was traveling back home with my father who picked me up and we finished sine last minute shopping. On the way home we stopped in the little town of Burford, home to many members of my family.
On the main street is a restaurant called Muir`s. It`s a storefront that opens up into what looks to be a house. Their catch line is "Eat. Drink. Chill" and I have heard that they do some pretty good grub.
The main reason for that is my cousin Steve (pictured above from Muir's Facebook page) is the head chef there. I don't get to spend a lot of time with my family, so I haven't had a chance to try his cooking, but this was the perfect chance for me to stop in and try his wings.
Now some are going to accuse me of playing favourites. It's my cousin, so I am going to write positive things about his cooking and the pub. But I approached this review like any other - analyzing all the details and removing any bias I could.
Inside the place was busy with a couple of end of year parties. The place has a very warm feeling, like a Cheers pub, where everybody knows your name. In fact, we ran into more family while there! I didn't catch our waitress's name, but she was very friendly and helpful. We looked over the menu which was full of tasty looking dishes. A lot of Buffalo themed dishes, appetizers and pub grub in general. They even have a food challenge - The Belly Buster: 24oz Black Angus Beef with Cheddar & Swiss, Smoked Bacon, Peameal Bacon & Ham, veggies, fries, gravey, no cutlery in 25 minutes and its free. But if you don't finish, it's $25!
Dad and I both got wings, but we split an order of Coney Island Poutine. Crispy seasoned fries with cheese sauce, bacon, green onions. So good.
While it may not have been traditional poutine, the cheese sauce and bacon really made the dish. This monster dish was more than we could handle on our own. Actually we had to take most of it home and ate it over two more meals. It was a lot to eat, especially once our wings arrived.
Muir's is clearly a place where wings are important, not just an afterthought thrown on a menu. They are "Fresh . . . Never Frozen" which is very important in good wings. They also say they are the "Best Wings in Brant County!"
The wings come in an order of 1lb, or about 8 wings, with a side of dip (blue cheese in our case) and lots of celery and carrot sticks.
Not too long ago my Dad was introduced to dry Cajun wings and really liked them. So he decided to try them here. I don't think he was disappointed.
The crispy skin was coated in Cajun seasoning giving a nice texture that lent itself to a crunchy bite. The taste of the chicken was highlighted to the seasoning on the wings, which was a nice blend of spices. Not too spicy, but a nice fried piece of chicken with the hint of chili and garlic that is the signature of Cajun cuisine.
I debated between getting Hot and Buffalo, but something said go with Buffalo. Boy did I make the right choice.
The Buffalo sauce was rich and buttery but had a nice spicy tang from the hot sauce. This was a medium level of heat and was really a great wing. And they were nice and saucy too!
I also wanted to sample their hottest sauce, ridiculous, so I got it as a side.
This sauce was ridiculous. It really burned my mouth. I'm pretty sure its a spice extract mixed in some sauce. My lips and tongue were definitely stinging. Sharp pins and needles that packed a wallop. Not a lot of flavour, but a lot of pain!
We also brought an order of wings back for my mother and grandmother. Steve's own signature sauce, Stevie B's seemed to be the way to go. A mix of Sweet Thai and Honey Garlic, they were, well sweet and spicy. I'm not a honey garlic fan, but I could eat these. Grandma and mom liked them too.
FINAL SCORE: I swear without bias that these were some of the best wings I've had in a long time. Big, crispy, saucy, fresh. Simply, kick-ass wings. The sauces are not just bottled sauces but made in house. Steve clearly puts a lot of effort into his wings and it shows. The Coney Island Poutine was also really good and I can imagine how the rest of the menu taste. I didn't get a chance to talk to him and tell him that I thought they were excellent. Clearly I need to visit family more often. 9.5/10
Muir's: Eat. Drink. Chill.
131 King Street, Burford ON
=Let's Wing It is now close, but has returned to being a Wild Wing as it once was =
So after one guest left over the weekend, I had another come and visit. Julianna was in town from Ottawa and crashed with me for a few days. We decided we had to do a wing review together and wanted to go someplace that wasn't too far away. I had passed a place just a few blocks away, and so it was decided we would be going to Let's Wing It!
This place was a Wild Wing location that closed and reopened as an independent place. It's got the same basic concept of a saloon-like atmosphere with a ton of flavours of wings.
The place was decorated for the holiday season . . . I think. Maybe the X-mas lights are normal, I don't know. There was hockey on all the screens. The crowd was mostly 20-30ish range, although there were two guys sitting beside us, dressed identically, drinking beer - but Julianna and I were sure they were like 16. Our waitress was Emily, who was very friendly and answered a lot of questions.
It wasn't wing night, but there were two specials on that night. The first was a 33 oz domestic beer for $7! But when Julianna tried to order Keith's, it wasn't considered domestic. But Coors and Budweiser (American Beers) were. Anyways, it was a monster glass of beer. Look at it! And Julianna being the champ she is, drank it all.
The other special on was Deep Fried Pickles for $5. These were nice and crispy, but juicy and tangy inside. And ranch for dipping. How can you not like DFP's?! They did take close to 45 minutes to come out though, so we were starved by the time they came out.
When it came to ordering the wings, Emily was able to answer a lot of questions. Julianna was feeling like veggies and dip and noticed that they could be ordered separately at an extra cost. She asked Emily if the wings come with veggies and dip, and Emily said you get one of each, but that she would hook us up. And she did, and we had them with standard commercial blue cheese dip. Oh, we also ate some wings.
It was a long wait for the wings (we were told there was only one cook on duty) but when they came, we tore into them pretty good. Well I did anyway.
The wings at Let's Wing It! come in orders of 10 - with each wing costing $1. Not too cheap. The wings are pre-breaded, frozen, then deep fried on site.
The size of the wings weren't that big, about a medium in length. Almost small, but they were super meaty. Plus the breading added to the girth of the wing. The wings weren't very crispy - the breading becomes a textured wrapping that doesn't do well with the freezing.
When you have a ton of sauces, you want to go sampling, but wing joints like this don't make it easy to switch up sauces. So Julianna went with one flavour, I went with two separate orders and a side of sauce to see what they had to offer.
#61 Medium & Maple
This was Julianna's selection. She was a bit worried that the medium was too spicy for her, and it was. But I didn't notice the heat. This was a medium sauce with a hint of maple.
It was sweet and hot. An interesting taste, but not something I would order on my own. But I think Julianna liked them. They certainly were saucy wings!
The main flavour of any wing joint, this hot was like many, not. Most of the sauce had absorbed into the breading, so there wasn't any substantial flavour.
It was ok, but I didn't really taste much. The breading was stronger than the sauce, and that isn't a good thing.
This was the hottest sauce listed on the menu, but several dishes were rated the 5 for hottest. It was mostly an extract of heat put in with some hot sauce.
While it didn't really have a taste, it did have a good kick. Burning mouth, stinging tongue - it was one dimensional, but at least it hurt. I've certainly had hotter, but not in a long time.
#48 Smokey BBQ & Extra Hot
I was feeling like some BBQ sauced wings - and while they have regular BBQ, the Smokey BBQ sounded more alluring. Add in some extra sauce and you've got a tasty concept on your hands.
These wings came saucy. Even though they were supposed to be smokey, this was a pretty sweet BBQ sauce. There was a hint of the Extra Hot, but they were predominately sweet. Like a smokey ketchup.
After a while, I was not enjoying any of the flavours. So I mixed all the wings and sauces together. This made for a spciy but sweet mix of wings. But it wasn't the sauces I wasn't digging so much, but the breaded wings themselves.
THE SCORE: The wings started off well enough, but after a while the breading coating from the frozen wings made it so I just didn't want to eat more, even if I wanted more. The sauces were well enough. The deep fried pickles were the best part of the meal. No, hanging out with Julianna was the best part of the meal. 4.5/10
Let's Wing It!
431 Yonge Street, Toronto ON
RIP - DANGEROUS DAN's is NOW CLOSED
What a busy weekend! Social functions, meetings, and visitors for the weekend. For the first part of the weekend, Ricky came down for a visit. We went and saw TRON: LEGACY in IMAX 3D and were pretty entertained. We went to bed late, got up the next day, and we knew we needed a good lunch. Something hearty and a little adventurous. We decided it was worth going out to the East end and return to Dangerous Dan's Diner.
The last time I was at triple D's was back in 2007, where we had a bird invade Rick's car and we were waking up after New Years.
There have been some changes to the place since then. First, it's a lot cleaner. There was no haze in the air and everything didn't look as icky. Second, they replaced the old car seats with less older car seats, and created a better seating area in my opinion. The menu has also been bulked up.
They also have a new advertising campaign that embraces their less-than-healthy approach. Posters with statements like "22% of Ontarians are Obese. We can do Better", or "While we Still Have Health Care" and my favourite "Meat is Murder. Tasty Tasty Murder." They also have on the menu pot leaves beside certain dishes to indicate these would be great for "Medicinal Cannabis Users" as a joke.
We were looking to do some feasting, that is for sure. We both went with burgers and onion rings, and Rick also got a side of wings for us to split. The onion rings were massive. They were crispy and were exactly what I like in an onion ring (as opposed to breaded onion rings, which are ok, but I prefer battered). I can still smell and taste them right now.
Rick and I also got the Bacon and Cheddar burger - but they have added some specialty burgers like the "The Elvis - Bacon, Peanut Butter and Fried Banana" the "Big Kahuna - Pineapple Slice, Peameal Bacon, and Mozzarella. Served with Mayonnaise, Lettuce and Tomato" or the "Big Kevorkian - Fried onion, fried mushrooms, 2 slices fried bacon, deep fried pickle, garlic dressing, mayo." Of course this is also home to three of the craziest burgers in the city:
"The Coronary Burger Special
2 8oz Patties, 4 Slices of Bacon, 2 Slices of Cheddar and a Fried Egg on top. Served w/ Fries and Gravy, Can of Pop and Mayo as a garnish for sure!
Only $ 15.25
Quadruple C"Collosal Colon Clogger Combo"
24oz burger served with a quarter pound of cheese, a quarter pound of bacon, and 2 fried eggs. Also comes with a large shake and a small poutine.Only $ 24.45
10oz NY steak freshly ground into a hamburger patty, mixed with beer, shitake and oyster mushrooms, camembert and brie cheese and 4oz pan fried Lobster Tail drizzled with clarified butter. Comes with Hand-made fries and a large milk shake
Only $ 38.95"
While we may not have gone for one of their monster burgers, our 8oz burger was nothing to look down at. In fact, you need to look up. Compared to years ago, this burger was much better built (flatter patty instead of a high patty) with bacon and cheese, a bed of lettuce. There's tomato and ketchup and mustard, onion, and I withheld the relish.
This burger has a nice meaty taste and is pretty simple - which I think brings out the beef flavour. Ricky described it as having a Greek-like flavour to it. I remember the burger being a bit dry, but this was just right, and with a nice crispy crust - this was a solid burger. But what about the wings . . .
I decided to re-re-review these wings in the 3.2 scoring system. How do they hold up?
The wings come in orders of 10 or 20. What sets them apart from other places is that they keep the tip on the wingette portion of the wing. Some see this as a hinderance or not desirable, but I partly welcome them. Yes they can be a pain to hold and eat, but there is some tasty meat and skin in there!
They also come with a good order of carrot sticks and blue cheese dip. Very creamy, not huge on chunks of blue cheese though.
These wings are large wings. Almost a jumbo. About a medium level of meatiness. It still wasn't the most tender chicken inside either.
The wings were swimming in their BBQ-like sauce. Rick got the hot wings, but these were not hot at all. They did have pepper rings mixed in, but still no heat. If I were to guess by taste alone, it has an HP sauce base with some hot sauce mixed in - making it more savory than sweet or spicy.
The last time I was here I did not like it, but I've come to accept it. It's different and their own thing. I would like it hotter. The biggest problem is that the sauce totally destroys the crispiness of the deep fried wings, and you can't tasty anything but the sauce.
FINAL SCORE: Excellent onion rings. Good burgers. Ok wings. The wings have a lot of potential with their size. The sauce is unique, but needs more of a kick. 5/10
Dangerous Dan's Diner
714 Queen St. East